A Winter Weather Advisory was issued for the entire Chicago area to start Christmas weekend, with parts of northwest Indiana under a Winter Storm Warning beginning early Sunday.
The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties in Indiana, taking effect at 6 a.m. CST Sunday morning.
Northwest Indiana could see snow accumulations totaling between 4 and 8 inches in Lake and Porter counties, according to the NWS, with higher snowfall totals closer to Lake Michigan.
LaSalle, Kendall, Grundy, Kankakee, Livingston, Iroquois, Ford, Lee and DeKalb counties in Illinois were under a Winter Weather Advisory beginning at 4 a.m. Sunday through 6 p.m., according to the NWS.
At 6 a.m. Sunday, a Winter Weather Advisory also took effect for Cook, DuPage, Kane and Will counties in Illinois, as well as in Newton, Jasper and Benton counties in Indiana, stretching through 6 p.m. Sunday as well.
Saturday afternoon and evening were dry as clouds began to build, with a high of 33 degrees before snow began to fall early Sunday morning.
Chicago’s northern suburbs will likely see the lightest snowfall totals in the area, with Barrington and Lake Zurich projected to see around 2 inches of snow.
Moving further south, the total continues to increase, reaching an estimated 4 inches in Kankakee and the surrounding area.
The snow is expected to taper off throughout the Chicago area by 8 p.m. Sunday, though the cold air will be just getting started.
Christmas Day will likely see some sunshine plus bitter cold temperatures, with highs in the 20s and another chance for a few flurries across the area, including lake-effect snow in western Michigan.
That gives fans of a “White Christmas” some hope in a city that’s not known for its holiday snowfall.
The National Weather Service defines a “white Christmas” as one with an inch or more of snow on the ground Christmas morning.
Since 1885, when snowfall data began being recorded, the area has seen 61 Christmas Days with no snow and 27 with a trace of snow, according to the National Weather Service. Forty-four years have seen snow of an inch or more.
The highest amount of snowfall recorded on Christmas was in 1950, when 5.1 inches of snow fell. Last year, no snow fell on Christmas Day.
After the holiday, Tuesday will be even colder, with highs in the teens before another round of snow develops Thursday and Friday ahead of what looks to be a dry but frigid New Year’s Eve weekend.